Monday, March 19, 2007

Brother and Sister

Before I had my little girl, I dreamed about the wonderful friendship she and I would share. I hoped that she and I would go shopping together and I would give her all kinds of wise advise about how she is too good for any boy out there.

I also pictured my husband with his little girl. I pictured these big, strong man arms holding a delicate, pink-ruffle-dressed sweet pea. I imagined how he would play princess with her and let her play with his hair even though he wouldn't be caught dead letting anyone else in the world see him like that.

I didn't really give much thought to the other person in our family and how they would develop a relationship. Sure, I worried how having a baby would interfere with his life. Would he mind that she would take over his crib? Would he be jealous of the attention everyone paid the new baby? Would he know that I still loved him and wasn't just trading him in for a new, pinker model?

Jack was so very excited to be a big brother. He was not quite two-years-old when Sarah was born. But he knew it was important and big and he was eager for his new title of big brother.

At first, Jack was just happy. He beamed from ear to ear at his baby sister. He was proud to be the big brother. He didn't always understand that she couldn't do the same things he could, though. When she was a teeny tiny infant he tried to share his Cheerios, trying to slip them into her mouth. He also wanted her to read his books, and he piled them onto her lap in the bouncy chair. I loved seeing the two of them together and once I took the first pictures of them he would haul himself up into chairs and declare, "here are your two babies!"

Jack has always been a very devoted brother. He never went through any periods of resentment toward her or showed any maladjustment with her addition to our family.

Now that Sarah is old enough to play with him and get into the toys he's playing with, they have a sweet dynamic. Jack will push toys her way for her, and in turn she will lick or chew all of his stuff. They sit and watch TV together. I have seen Sarah crawl right over Jack's reclined body on the floor.

They have their own little sibling quarrels. Sarah wants whatever Jack is playing with and Jack wants her to leave some of his things alone at times.

Jack is a big "helper" with Sarah. He has always wanted to feed her himself and he loves to share his snacks with her. Thankfully they can both eat almost all the same things now! He pulls his little step stool up to her changing table to talk to her. And he has held onto the whole babies liking to hold your hand thing way too long; he insists that she hold his hand sometimes, even though she squirms and pulls and peels herself away.

Now that Sarah is bigger, he is even more physical with her. But, since he is an almost three-year-old boy, he shows affection by laying on, scooting over, rolling over, and pushing down his little sister. Sarah's unsteadiness on her feet just makes all these brotherly bounces blend in with her regular tumbles and rolls.

Lately Jack refers to Sarah as "my baby." He doesn't call her by name or "my sister;" she is his baby. He takes responsibility for her like a third parent. His father and I reduced him to tears when we tried to explain that he actually isn't her parent, but her brother. His little heart was so broken at that idea, we just don't try to clarify it anymore.

Sarah adores her big brother. After "ma-ma" and "da-da," "Jack" is the next often heard word from her. She usually calls out to him when he's in another room. She will crawl across the floor, stopping every few feet and sticking her head out of doorways calling, "Jaa! Jaa!" And now that she is learning to give kisses, Jack is on the receiving end of more kisses than anyone else (even mom!)

Sarah and Jack are two chubby faced peas in our family pod. As they both get bigger their relationship seems to change and grow every day. I hope that as they get older they will continue to build on this and forge a unique friendship, sharing the experience of growing up in our house.


Swistle said...

This is so sweet. The part about Jack being reduced to tears at the idea of not being her parent reduced ME to tears! I love the picture of them playing on the floor: he's such a big kid, and she's this little short baby!

frannie said...

I cried, too! What a sweet, sweet post. It makes me want another baby right now! I think that is the sweetest thing I have ever read!

You conveyed their relationship in such a beautiful way.

mk said...

I just love that last shot soooooo much!!! And how adorable is Jack - poor thing not understanding that Sarah is not his baby. You have to love that!